By on February 27, 2010

[Update 3: This post is now officially obsolete, having been supplanted by the much more accurate update here]

[Update 2: In a new post, I have noted that 53% of Toyota UA complaints were filed after the mat advisory was issued on 9/29/09. The number used her are not adjusted for that. As soon as they are available, I will redo this spreadsheet, using more accurate sales stats]

[Update ans Disclaimer: As I noted below, this spreadsheet will be updated when I can access actual sales stats from our source, Morgan and Co. on Monday for the years ('05-'10) covered. That will very likely change the rankings somewhat. The Lincoln may actually be #2. But this is not about which car is #1 or #2; it's about finding patterns in certain makes, and within makes. It's an attempt to see if these statistics can shed light on a complex and opaque issue. As an example, why the Toyota Yaris is so low in reported incidents. It's more about these patterns and discrepancies, than about singling out the car with the highest rate, so please don't take the current exact rankings as the final word. It's a work in progress. The fact that the complaints are not tabulated by individual MY also limits this substantially, as running changes in a given car during the five year period will change things significantly. So this data dive is fundamentally flawed; take it as such. But nevertheless, it's still a huge step over the raw data that Edmunds put out, which doesn't begin to account for the number of any given cars sold.]

Numbers and statistics are largely useless without context. Edmunds.com took a first good step in going through NHTSA’s data base and reporting the number of UA events reported per make, brand and vehicle. But what was obviously missing was the correlation to the number of cars on the road in relation to those numbers. We’ve taken the next (tedious) step, and the results are most interesting indeed. They’re certainly not completely conclusive, but we’re not finished yet. The full list of 95 cars follows, as well as our methodology, a stab at some analysis, and more questions to still be answered.

First, our methodology. Edmund’s NHTSA data was for model year 2005 – 2010 cars, to date. Lacking easy complete sales data, I’ve taken the 2008 MY sales for these vehicles, and multiplied by five to arrive at a working number. If detailed sales numbers are to be found, I will update them. But I doubt it would change the numbers significantly.

Obviously, the cars that had lower numbers of events reported are going to be statistically less reliable. And unless we go back to the NHTSA and mine the original data, if that level is available, we don’t know what type of UA event was reported. Was it a likely wrong pedal application, which typically happens at low speeds and often in parking lots (hopefully not near a cliff)? Did it come on after merging into a freeway? Having that level of detail would allow us to make further assumptions, especially if certain cars had higher incidents of a particular type of UA event.

The other thing is consider whether the given vehicle had brake override or not. On the one hand, it’s interesting to note that no European brands were reported, and they pretty much all have brake override. But then so does Chrysler, and several of their cars, especially certain Jeep models, had fairly high rates of reported UA.

There are other factors to consider, like the demographics and use of the specific vehicles. I suspect strongly that the Lincoln TC, the Grand Marquis and the Crown Vic all have the same mechanical and electronic systems. Yet the TC came in #1, the Marquis #9, but the Crown Vic at #32. Is the high proportion of CV use in taxi and police service an issue here? And what are the TC and Marquis owners’ median age?

So many questions and so few answers: Ford, which does not have brake override, had some models fairly high on the list, but the popular Fusion was very low with a rate of .005, and its sibling Milan with a .006. The fact that these virtually identical cars came in so closely gives support to these statistics being reasonably accurate. Other examples are GMC Sierra and Chevrolet Silverado at # 95 and #96. And the Malibu and similar G6 are at #84 and #88.  But then when it gets down to such few reported events, randomness increasingly becomes a factor.

GM’s low UA rate is undeniable: their highest car is the Cadillac DTS, at #40. It also has a notoriously high median age of its owners. The mechanically related Lucerne and Impala are not far apart, with the Lucerne being somewhat higher and undoubtedly having an older median age of its owners. I’m conjecturing here, but the numbers tend to bear it out.

Clearly, Toyota vehicles are skewing to the upper end of the range, although the Corolla/Matrix is down at #38. And the Yaris is very low on the list at #79. What exactly puts the Lexus ES 350 at such a high rate is certainly worth exploring, especially since it was involved in the two must publicized UA events. Its general mechanical similarity to the Camry is well known; without breaking out the types of events the ES 350/330 has been involved with, its difficult to say. But additional information would be indicative, since the Camry is not all that high on the list at #11. Are Lexus floor mats thicker and deeper than the Camry’s? Are the electronics substantially different? Are Camrys imported from Japan involved at higher rates? ( all Lexus ES models are also imported).

The questions go on and on. I will continue the quest of turning up statistics that shed further light on this issue. And your comments , analysis and questions will be most appreciated and helpful. One thing: keep in mind that these are only those cars that had UA incidents reported to the NHTSA (actually, I removed a few out-of production cars from the list). Missing of course are all those cars with no reported incidents, including whole brands, like Hyundai, Kia, Mazda, Subaru, Volvo, and all the Europeans (except Saab). Did I miss someone significant? Full list follows:

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99 Comments on “TTAC’s NHTSA Data Dive: 95 Cars Ranked In Rate Of Unintended Acceleration Complaints...”


  • avatar
    criminalenterprise

    From Autoweek:

    According to a Consumer Reports study of complaints in 2008, one in 50,000 Toyota owners experienced an incident of unintended acceleration, worse than Ford (one in 65,000) and 10 times worse than General Motors vehicles (one in 500,000).

    Toyota have a problem, and it’s not just the media and Congress; that much is very painfully obvious. Perhaps the Ford events lack the severity of Toyota’s runaways, but in any case if I were Ford I’d have my ECU guys working weekends getting an ECU flash ready to roll out.

    • 0 avatar
      mpresley

      Toyota has a problem, but I’m not sure it’s what everyone thinks. We have media hysteria, but I’m not convinced. When I drive around, what do I see? People doing anything but driving. There’s the kids, the cell-phone, the Big Mac and fries, the radio turned up to 11. Not to mention the massive influx of Third World type drivers. But, who cares? We all know it’s the car’s fault anyway. Besides, everyone understands that litigation along with Congressional hearings will solve all our problems.

    • 0 avatar
      criminalenterprise

      Unless the people who you observe driving with distractions are overwhelmingly Toyota and Ford drivers and never Kia, Subaru, Hyundai, BMW or Volkswagen drivers, your anecdotal observation is about as meaningless as all the “Lincoln Towncars are driven by old people and immigrants” demographic speculation-posturing-as-analysis when Buick barely shows up in the data.

  • avatar
    Detroit-Iron

    When I saw that Lincoln was #1 the first thing I thought was that it would be funny to correlate UA events with the age of the driver. The Buicks aren’t too high on the list though so there goes my hypothesis. Maybe immigration status?

    • 0 avatar
      Telegraph Road

      I’m reminded of the incident where a 67-year old driver smashed his Town Car into a busy Fred Meyer store in Washington in 2004 injuring seven [source: http://www.komonews.com/news/archive/4140656.html ]. The “dazed” driver told investigators that “there was some sort of problem with the throttle.”

      According to J.D. Power and Associates, the Town Car is the vehicle model with the highest percentage – 75.9 percent – of buyers ages 65 and up. [source: http://www.newschannel5.com/Global/story.asp?S=9252472 ]

    • 0 avatar
      ClutchCarGo

      Another ‘impossible to get’ correlation that I’d like to see is the UA rate bumped up against driver mechanical IQ.

    • 0 avatar
      max425

      Is there any way to get information about the demographics of each car’s target segment? And what’s the reason for suggesting immigration status? I would imagine if someone were here illegally they would be less likely to complain even if their car did go haywire.

  • avatar
    littlehulkster

    I had UA in my Subaru once. I hit the cruise lever on the steering column to resume acceleration.

    However, being as I’m not an idiot I realized what was going on within a second and turned off the cruise. Unfortunatley, it seems most drivers are not nearly as aware as me, and this scares me far more than any case of “unintended” acceleration.

  • avatar

    Always, always, always keep in mind that these are REPORTS, not incidents. A report turns into an incident when the report has been verified. The way the system works, we could bring the Lincoln Navigator (or just about any model) up to rank 1 with a few clicks.

    Same with the “reported deaths” – in the media, they now have morphed into a bloodbath of 36 (or 39) certainly dead. Less than 10 have been confirmed. And AFAIK, UA hasn’t been proven for any of those deaths. Rember: When I file a report on-line, and say: “All 10 passenger in my Corolla died, I was on the wheel and perished also” then this would show up as 11 deaths.

    Interesting tidbit: Some of those high-end Lincolns have an EDR with a lot of memory ….

    • 0 avatar
      ihatetrees

      Always, always, always keep in mind that these are REPORTS, not incidents.

      +1. Reports will also be a function the reporters’ web skills, writing skills, poor driving skills, anal-retentiveness-regarding-alleged-defects skills, and overall faith in the NHTSA’s saintly mission To Save People From Evil Companies. The ES-350 demographic probably trends toward such people. Consider Rhonda Smith.

      The way the system works, we could bring the Lincoln Navigator (or just about any model) up to rank 1 with a few clicks.

      It’d be interesting to note any recent spikes (in all models) based on the current media drama-fest.

    • 0 avatar
      Dynamic88

      @ihatetrees

      So, you figure the ES350, with an MSRP of 35K appeals mainly to people with poor web skills, poor writing skills, poor driving skills, and an “anal retentiveness regarding defects”, and who just LURVE the NHTSA, and hate evil companies ?

      Hmmm. I’d be curious to hear the reasoning.

    • 0 avatar
      ihatetrees

      @Dynamic88:
      Hmmm. I’d be curious to hear the reasoning.

      First, a clarification. I did not write ‘poor web skills’ or ‘poor writing skills’ as you (incorrectly) imply. I did write ‘poor driving skills’. The distinction is critical.

      So, you figure the ES350, with an MSRP of 35K appeals mainly to people with . . . an “anal retentiveness regarding defects”, and who just LURVE the NHTSA, and hate evil companies ?

      Lexus coddles their wealthy customers. In both the driver’s seat and in the showroom. They do not market to (or want) drivers willing to overlook a little suspension harshness in order to take ramps at nine tenths (like Audi).

      Such Lexus customers can be:
      - Wealthy
      - Anal retentive regarding defects
      - Disconnected from private sector enterprise (*cough Rhonda Smith The Social Worker *cough)
      - Overly enamored of government solutions to the worlds’ problems

      Q.E.D.

  • avatar
    joe_thousandaire

    Certainly seems to be allot of old folks hitting the gas instead of the brake. I’d bet the median age on the ES350 is pretty high too, after all it is the world’s best Buick. I’ve heard quite a bit about UA in Jeeps over the years (maybe why so many Chrysler’s have brake over-ride) the problem was always explained that the gas and brake pedal were too close together in the foot-well, I don’t know if thats still the case in Jeeps or not, I haven’t driven a recent one.

  • avatar
    Robert.Walter

    Would be interesting to match the data against:
    a) side-side gap between the pedals,
    b) fore-aft off-set of pedals,
    c) gap between accl and trans tunnel,
    d) whether accl is suspended or floor mounted,
    e) whether accl has a pivot between pedal and lever (or if as in Toyota’s case the pedal is non-pivotably attached to the accl lever).

    • 0 avatar
      BuzzDog

      Beat me to it, Robert…this chart raises more interesting questions than it answers.

    • 0 avatar
      Robert.Walter

      forgot to add:
      f) ePedal or mechanical cable from pedal;
      g) brake override equipped;
      h) manual trans equipped;
      i) cruise equipped;
      j) EDR equipped.

      also worthy of consideration are:
      - day/night
      - temp and humidity
      - cruise on/off
      - accl from stand-still, low speed, moderate speed
      - passing gear engaged
      - driver’s shoe size, width and type of sole (rigid or flexible)
      - driver’s previous accident history
      - driver’s history of leg circulatory problems or balance issues. It is fact, that with age, the nerves in the feet are less sensitive, leading to balance issues, and this may have common cause with pedal recognition, as in foot partly on both pedals (as in the little-piggie-that-went-to-market rode the brake, while the little-piggie-that-ran-off-squealing-we-wee-weee simultaneously rode the accl pedal).

    • 0 avatar
      tedward

      Agreed on the pedal offset being an interesting (it would lead me to assume driver error) question to ask. OTOH, I find it really hard to believe that Toyota is setting up it’s Camry’s or ES’s for heel-toeability.

      The gap between tunnel and pedals is likewise interesting, as I have definitely driven cars where a too wide sneaker can catch your foot against the tunnel carpet, sometimes while still on throttle. Still, it’s a very specific feeling, as in, my foot’s caught, so it’s not engine gremlins.

      I would like to see a country of origin breakdown. The slight differences in supplier parts between the same car made say, in Japan vs. USA, might very well rule out some sources of mechanical failure.

    • 0 avatar
      Rod Panhard

      And the ever popular, “Was the driver engaged in a telephone conversation at the time of the incident?”

    • 0 avatar
      Robert.Walter

      Also:
      - driver on medicine (even cold medicine)?
      - driver tired, distracted (phoning), or DUI?
      - driver own car? If so, satisfied customer?
      - # times driver had previously driven vehicle?
      - driver’s primary vehicle, and if so, since when?
      - driver recently driving different vehicle prior to event?
      - had driver reported other incidences of SUA in other vehicles?
      - event reported to OEM?
      - if reported to OEM, also reported to NHTSA?
      - if reported to OEM, action(s) taken? NTF?
      - EDR or OBDII interrogated?

      Could it be that because of the power we have in our cars today, that there is a) such a sudden change that the driver is shocked into inaction or improper response, or b) the time previously available, for similar conditions, which the driver had to properly interpret and correctively respond to the situation is no longer available, or c) a combo of both?

    • 0 avatar
      Robert.Walter

      (having trouble with the edit function, I wanted to add…)

      - Traffic conditions
      - Other passengers present if so, adults or children;
      - Type of driver … skilled (Sullenberger) or casual (WarrenBurger) …

      Could it be that the buyers of Toyota’s transportation appliances are more Randy Newman types than Paul Newman types? And that when something goes wrong the skilled types react cooly and correctly, report the incident, fix the vehicle and motor on, and at the other end of the bell curve, the casual users die?

      Suggested Improvement: If not already extant, the NHTSA complaint system should a) have a standardized questionare for each type of event, b) require the complaintant to give Name, Address, Phone Number, eMail, and Social Sec. Number … this would both improve follow-up and eliminate bogus entries.

      re. country of origin visavis design or conformance of parts to design or fitforuse expectations … Experience suggests that there is not much difference.

  • avatar
    dwford

    Read the chart however you want, but the only 3 models with over 100 UA incidents are all Toyotas..

    • 0 avatar
      Paul Niedermeyer

      It’s not a matter of “how” to read the chart. If a car has a very high rate of reported incidents, that’s statistically more significant than the opposite. And its perfectly obvious that Toyotas are congregating high on this list.

  • avatar
    JSF22

    Whenever I see Town Car, Lexus ES, Avalon, and Grand Marquis in the top ten of anything (including IQS rankings), I immediately think of who drives them and where. This doesn’t prove there is nothing wrong with the cars, but pedal misapplication seems a distinct possibility.

  • avatar
    65corvair

    Very interesting. I love statistics like these. Part is domographics, part is how the pedals are placed and some may even have computer or mechanical problems. But what do I know, I drive an electric Toyota fork lift at work. Touch the brake just a little when you are on the throttle, and the computer stops sending power to the motor. Someone forgot to tell the car guys at Toyota to do that too. Still, I doubt this would prevent all of their problems. When my petal sticks on my Corvair, it’s called cruise control! Actually it’s time to lube the cable.

  • avatar
    HerrKaLeun

    hysteria hysteria… I could claim i experienced UA. In my Mazdas the cruise works simple, it accelerates as long as i push the accelerate button on the steering wheel, and once I release the acc. button it holds the speed.

    At work I was driving a Taurus and there once pushed the accelerator button and releasing it, it kept accelerating until I pushed the SET button. I’m sure that is part of their design, and not related to the “accelerator pedal” since that is just a goofy setup they have. but I was kind of taken by surprise that it didn’t stop accelerating (of course, I’m not stupid, I figured it out within a second to push set, and would have figured out where the brake pedal is too). The Taurus just is bad in general, so no need to put too much attention to that feature. (like the tiny mirrors that kill you on highways.. etc.) But nowadays I could go on a TV show with that, isn’t it sad?

    I also think many old drivers, or retarded moms just have bad footwear and slip over the accelerator. Since nowadays everyone needs a 6-cylinder that acceleration surprises them. I’m sure Toyota did something wrong, at least they could have the brake-override, but I’m sure 99% of the reported cases are drivers fault. Just look around how people drive….. And now many jump on the bandwagon. Guess how many speeding tickets now get challenged with the claim of UA?

  • avatar
    crash sled

    Sure, demographics and such influence these numbers, but again, using the same methodology I’ve suggested earlier, which is to throw out the small North American fish, and the small volume players, it does apppear there are a whole lot of Toyota reports at the top of this list.

    The above methodology, as applied to a total NHTSA dataset, showed Toyota to be much better than the Detroit 3 in total NHTSA reports. As regards UA discretely, that same analysis surfaces an anomaly, one pointed at Toyota vehicles.

    I guess “demographics” could include stupid people racking and stacking floor mats, or misinstalling them, and that might account for the higher numbers. So the numbers can’t be assumed as proof of demonic possession of the ECM, as Kane and company are determinedly pushing.

    • 0 avatar
      N8iveVA

      crash sled “I guess “demographics” could include stupid people racking and stacking floor mats”.

      yeah, that reminds me of my grandmother that would put rubber floor mats on top of the factory carpeted mats to “protect them”. I’ve told her how absolutely ridiculous this is for years. But she’s stubborn and wont listen.

    • 0 avatar
      Robert.Walter

      Even experienced engineers of automotive safety items do this (just imagine, many of you are diving cars with directional control and driver’s restraint systems this “stupid stack and rack type” played a significant part in developing): I did this in my Smart car to protect the summer mats, and to add an additional level of dampening to road noise coming up thru the floor … thin factory rubber mat for summer and thick waffle pattern aftermarket mat (bought at factory dealer though) for winter … I never percieved any risk although I knew of all the past issues Toyota had had with this in the 2000′s, and because Smart hinges its ePedal at the floor (no brake overide though.)

      Oh, and as for the clever little plastic screws with which one should fixate the factory mat to the carpet, I couldn’t be bothered, these are in the zip log bag somewhere in the toolbox.

      If there is not a robust hook or button style retention system, no OEM should expect the customer to have either the patience, skill, tools or time to install a separate screw or other device.

      I’ve also seen types with lanyard loops and snaps closures to wrap around the seat frame, much like the Toyota’s lame zip-tie fix … these are also pretty useless after they get dirty or corroded as the snap usually fails to close or retain.

    • 0 avatar
      crash sled

      “…no OEM should expect the customer to have either the patience, skill, tools or time…”

      .
      .

      If a customer hasn’t the patience, skills, tools or time to properly maintain and operate their vehicle, then they are obligated to pay someone who does have those qualities. That is, they can pay somebody to maintain their vehicle, and/or they can pay somebody to operate their vehicle. Alternatively, they can choose not to own any vehicle, or not to operate any vehicle.

      There are many responsible choices available here, but choosing an irresponsible one, the stupid one, might mean the owner/operator Darwins themselves right out of the gene pool.

      These are basic understandings, and as I look around the world, I don’t see the lack of understanding that I’m witnessing here, nor the hysteria.

      Now, if Toyota chooses to market to those stupid people, their business model may well require them to accommodate their stupidity, and I’m sure their current sales figures are driving that point home to them right now. But it’s their business model in question, not an ethic of OEM responsibility.

      Regulating for stupidity has a cost, and those costs have to be balanced against the few Darwins. If we wanted to save tens of thousands of lives evey year, and not just those few Darwins, why then we’d enact a blanket 40 MPH speed limit, immediately.

      We won’t do that, because we’ve made a balance, and by the measure of some, that balance includes sentencing those tens of thousands to death, doesn’t it?

      Cost/benefit is and must be in place… always… involving money… and also involving corpses. Remember this, because you yourself are making this balance, even as you read this post. The OEMs do likewise. It is what we all do. Shameless proclamations to the contrary are ridiculous.

  • avatar
    JohnAZ

    As soon as I saw the headline “Lincoln Town Car #1 In Rate Of Unintended Acceleration Events” my initial thought was:
    Well this should be good. TTAC has probably found another statistical way to divert the Toyota deceit story into a “but the Domestics are worse” story.
    It was pretty obvious when I saw that among the top 25 models, Toyota had more than twice the number of affected models as Ford and more than half of the total models, but that didn’t stop TTAC from focusing on Ford.
    My second thought was ‘Why am I still bothering to read this crap blog?’

    • 0 avatar
      Robert.Walter

      Don’t quit John, I like your comments.

    • 0 avatar
      Paul Niedermeyer

      John, Did you think I spent four hours inputing data for the purpose of making a domestic look bad?  I didn’t know the outcome until I had the spreadsheet calculate at the end. This is not the TTAC of old. And I’m hardly “focusing on Ford”. But feel free to read into a table of stats whatever you like, but please don’t accuse me of doing the same thing.

    • 0 avatar
      baldheadeddork

      Paul, five of the top ten – and eleven of the top twenty – are from one manufacturer. I think that should be your lead, but you don’t even note it at any point in the story. Intentional or not, you give a strong impression that you are going out of your way to avoid making that observation.

      And since the subject has come up, I think a lot of the perception of a pro-Toyota bias at TTAC is coming from Bertel’s pieces. He appears to be on a campaign to blame everyone but Toyota for this mess and some of his recent writing has been painful to read.

    • 0 avatar
      Robert.Walter

      @edudan:

      You’ve been reading enough to recall that he was hammering Toyota 2 weeks ago …

      Bertel is stiring the pot… contraversial topics and headlines grab eyeballs…

      Just remember the words of the father of yellow journalism, William Randolph Hearst, “You provide the photos and I’ll provide the war!”

    • 0 avatar
      JohnAZ

      Paul,
      The baldheadeddork shares and states my concerns very well.
      Your headline was inappropriate, prejudiced, and of no value to anyone who wants to discuss what is causing the Toyota trainwreck.
      You should have sensed like I did that your report based on prorated data from one sales year and with no context for what actual UA events were reported was starting to smell like something out of Climatgate. How you could label such a “study” as significant for any brand blows your credibility for any such future analysis.

      I like the structure of your blog and the bloggers that you have attracted, but if that is all you and Bertel have to offer, then some of us will just have to look elsewhere.

    • 0 avatar
      Robert.Walter

      In defenc(/s)e of ttac: Provocative headlines provoke thought and 360° discussion and thus, for me, are more informative and entertaining than the alternative.

      John, I’ve enjoyed becoming more knowledgeable and benefiting from your years of IBM experience.

    • 0 avatar
      Z71_Silvy

      “Your headline was inappropriate, prejudiced, and of no value to anyone who wants to discuss what is causing the Toyota trainwreck.”

      Are you for real??? Or just a typical, detached from reality Ford cheerleader.

      The headline was 100% factual.

      And Toyota is being unfairly treated by our media both on TV and online. Based on the FACTS (above)…….this is not an issue at all and completely overblown.

  • avatar
    educatordan

    The most fascinating data for me would come from the Panther platform. If it was a problem with the throttle itself or software the # of incidents would be uniform across the Lincoln, Mercury, and Ford versions. But the thing is, it’s not. The Crown Vic, with far more fleet buyers than the other versions, has the lowest # of reported incidents, while having the highest sales.

  • avatar
    pgcooldad

    These stats are for vehicles sold from 2005-2010. It has been reported repeatedly that the UA incidents for Toyota escalated after going to Drive-by-Wire (DBW) in 2001. So what was the UA rate for Toyotas before and after this change?

    Also, I know the 3.7 and 4.7L engines on Jeeps went to DBW roughly three years ago. The stats above encompass with and without DBW as do many other vehicles on the list. That needs to be separated. What are the incident rates for vehicles with DBW and without?
    Once we have this separation, than separate it by demographics.

    Oh and how about by sex also??? I don’t trust the women in my family to know what to do in an UA event, even after I coached them on what to do, with the exception of my younger sister who is a Mechanical Engineer at GM of course.

    • 0 avatar
      Wheeljack

      Agreed – Chrysler switched over gradually to DBW during this period. I think the only engine they offer that had DBW for the entire period of 2005-2010 is the 5.7L and 6.1L Hemi. I don’t think their “highest ranking” model for UA, the Pacifica, ever got DBW before it was phased out, but I could be wrong…maybe only the later 4.0L V-6 models had it, if any.

  • avatar
    MarcKyle64

    When private pilots receive training for their license, one of the things that is hammered into their heads is what to do when the prop quits spinning. You’re trained to be mindful of places to land just in case it quits in the next 30 seconds. The thought process is like this: ‘that farmer’s field is a good emergency field. But a few minutes from now that interstate is a sweet spot to land considering my altitude and the wind direction’. Do drivers need quite this level of alertness and care? No. But I don’t remember being told what to do when something like this happens when I took driver’s ed in high school. My point is this: I would be VERY interested in a correlation of the difference in total number of UA incidents and the training the driver HAS to receive in their country in order to receive their license. Can TTAC find out, for example, if German drivers report lover levels of UA than American drivers.

    • 0 avatar
      Robert.Walter

      My dad always told us “don’t always be so trusting of your brakes”, “always be keep an ‘assured clear distance’ to the vehicle ahead”, and “you may be dead right, but under some circumstances, you will still be dead.”

      Our Driver’s Ed. teacher Mr. Ray Voss taught us “always leave yourself an out” and “imagine what you would do if a kid cruised out of a hidden drive on a bike, or that parked car suddenly threw open its door or pulled-out without signalling.”

    • 0 avatar

      Can TTAC find out, for example, if German drivers report lover levels of UA than American drivers.

      Interesting question. Input Toyota AND “Ungewollte Beschleunigung” into Google, and you find tons of reports about the problems in the USA, but so far, I haven’t found a single mention of an ungewollte Beschleunigung (unintended acceleration) happening in Germany. The only thing that happens in Germany are recalls. Haven’t seen any complaints.

  • avatar
    JMII

    Agree with Detroit-Iron – the top 5 vehicles = old folkes cars. Sorry but that is what I’m seeing in the data. I live in FL and about once a week someone drives a car into a store front, claiming “it just took off” then later admits they were “confused”. However the lack of Buicks and Caddy’s kind of kills this theory. Still love to see the average age of the people filling these reports.

    • 0 avatar
      crash sled

      Well, the big-selling Tacoma is #6, and that couldn’t possibly be construed as an old folks’ vehicle.

      It does however have accel/brake pedals which some feel are too-closely spaced, for work boots and such. Also, it has the floor mat issue, but has the Denso pedal, for whatever that’s worth.

  • avatar
    BuzzDog

    I wonder how many of the Town Cars there are in use that have throttle cables?

    This may finally put to rest the theory that cables are “more failsafe” than fly-by-wire.

    As someone else pointed out, cables fail without a backup or failsafe mode. However, in their defense is that cable failures often give some warning of impending failure (“play” or stickiness) and the source of failure is usually obvious to even the non-mechanic.

  • avatar
    blue adidas

    Something is up. The Crown Victoria is the exact same vehicle as the Towncar, and the CV ranks 1/10 of what the Towncar ranks. Unless there is some mechanical difference, the huge variance suggests that it’s the driver and not the vehicle. The buyer profiles of these cars are dramatically different.

    For the Towncar, the buyer profile are A) the Elderly, and B) poorly trained Livery fleet service
    For the CV, the buyer profile is A) the Elderly, and B) better trained Police Municipal fleet

    Also, of the top 30 on this list, over half are Toyotas.

    • 0 avatar
      BuzzDog

      +1. But in addition to driver demographics, miles driven per vehicle would need to be looked at as part of a thorough analysis.

      There may be a significant difference in the average miles driven per year among the different models, which could result in more or less opportunities of any given incident to occur.

    • 0 avatar
      blue adidas

      Also, constant comparisons against the Big 2 are completely meaningless and irrelevant to Toyota’s situation. The reality is that Toyota had the opportunity to fix a safety defect, multiple ones actually, that they knew existed. But they decided to bury it for at least a decade. Along with a number of other defects that we have been hearing about for the past couple years, their behavior to the problem, and the resulting damage they caused, is more significant than the actual problem if they had handled it properly.

  • avatar
    calacak

    I wonder how many of these TC complaints come from the fleet sales? From what I’ve seen, a huge portion of these are sold to Limo and Chauffeur companies. Consider that the drivers of those cars tend to be much younger than of a typical buyer, the UA statistic would certainly be higher.

    • 0 avatar
      blue adidas

      As Buzzdog above suggested, many livery Towncars see up to 400,000 miles before they are junked. So there’s a lot more opportunity for one to be in an accident in it’s lifetime. Plus their car-service drivers are often on chat lines and aren’t exactly what I would call “focused.” Personally, I’ve been in two fender-benders while being driven in a Towncar by a inattentive driver. Both times, they hit yellow cabs.

    • 0 avatar
      Robert.Walter

      That’s a unique way to eliminate the competition … one crash at a time!

    • 0 avatar
      tedward

      I’d like to add to this discussion of livery drivers…I’ve seen many signs of mental instability, and my exposure has been livery cars on a corporate account, so not bottom-feeders, or “uptown cabs”. They are a lot of really negligent drivers in the livery fleets as well, oddly enough the ghetto livery cabs don’t seem to have this problem.

      I had one guy obssesing over the cleanliness of his rear view, using a full sized windex and full sized roll of paper towels to continually work at “the problem”, at speed. This resulted in him rear ending a guy at Woodhaven and Myrtle in Queens, with two customers in the car. Luckily for him the guy he hit clearly didn’t have insurance and wanted to get the hell out of dodge.

      Another guy got into two fights over the course of 5 or 6 rides I had with him (I had to report that), and each started with him slinging racist comments at other drivers. It was clearly a mental problem.

      I can easily see where claiming UA, deservedly or not, happens. These guys can loose their jobs over accidents.

  • avatar
    porschespeed

    I’m kinda joking on this one, but the more I ponder how the manufacturer can actually derive, store, and reproduce data for 99+% of these “UA” accidents, the more I think a starightforward and inexpensive answer is “off the shelf”…

    Cameras.

    Board mount cameras are just about free these days, and would provide video evidence as an integral part of the datalog.

    Two or three cameras under the dash with a clear shot of the pedals. Store the video in the ‘black box’ as part of the rest of the DA feeds.

    Then, we can actually quantify if, in fact, ANY of this “UA” is actually the fault of the machine, or simply the nut behind the wheel.

    If this is an issue with 100% drive-by-wire throttles, then we need to acknowledge and solve it now before every car ends up 100% DBW and this is a major problem.

    (Even though I generally love tech, 100% by wire anything can be an issue if the wrong inputs are allowed to be supplied, or there’s not cornucopia of manual over-rides. See: Airbus.)

    Or, we need to remind planners and designers that we have an aging population, some of whom became very accustomed to 1970s luxo-barge pedal spreads, so you better figure out how to design for them.

    But, from Audi 5000 to right this very moment we have NO proof that this “UA” was anything but user error. NONE.

    As I’ve said before, things can and do fail. BUT, those actual failures are always easy to diagnose when they happen, and forensically. There’s is simply no way any of the alleged foot on the brake and it took off stories are true UNLESS they have mechanically failed brakes and fuel metering AT THE SAME TIME.

    If either/both of those systems failed so as to provide veracity to the “it took off and ran over my husband while my foot was holding the brake to the floor” stories, it would be readily traceable.

    Gimme science. Eyewitness testimony is the most unreliable of all witnesses. Especially when nobody wants to tell the truth, there’s no crime, just somebody effed up and stuffed a car and/or its occupants/bystanders.

    Tragic, but life has risk.

  • avatar
    alexndr333

    Porschespeed: Driver error is certainly a possibility, but the chart is hard to explain that way, unless you prepared to say that GM drivers are much less error-prone about using the gas pedal than anyone else. That’s a stretch for me. The information does suggest a pattern based on manufacturer, with Ford and Toyota having something about their cars that creates the UA problem. But if you insist on the driver error argument, here goes: GM owners more than any others carry on the historic American garage-mechanic cultural value where car owners actually know how cars work, take an interest in the mechanicals and have a higher awareness of what to do and not do when operating a vehicle. A romantic notion, but not likely. (The opposite argument about Toyota owners – ignorant, disinterested and unaware of their cars – has a better chance of being true, but where does that leave Ford?)

    • 0 avatar
      Paul Niedermeyer

      A romantic notion, but not likely. +1

    • 0 avatar
      th009

      There are two key factors that can affect this, that are dependent on the model: driver demographics and pedal placement. Combine those two in the right (wrong) way and “UA” becomes much more likely.

      In the original Audi 5000 UA debacle, the Audis’ pedals were placed somewhat differently from the domestic cars previously owned by most of the claimed victims, making it easier for them to press the accelerator by mistake. Of course all “victims” denied that …

  • avatar
    Christy Garwood

    PN, thanks for taking the time to input all the data. OEMs might want to hire you now to analyze data!! ;-)

    When analyzing build data, a statiscally significant sample size is 30 in terms of accuracy within 99%. (for the picayune crowd, there is a decimal but I forget what it is).

    IIRC, 3 of the 7 Pontiac Vibe reports were filed in January after the recalls on the Toyota Matrix.

    I also saw that the GMC Canyon is not on the list (unless I missed it) but the Chevy Colorado is – should be a closer grouping following your logic on Silverado/ Sierra.

    As you said, the questions go on and on when it comes to analyzing the NHTSA reports. The most credible report I have seen is from Haggerty and his 12/28/09 incident where he was on the highway, remembered what to do from the safety video, exited immediately and drove to the dealership – having to shift into neutral and drive several times to get there. Wouldn’t we all love to know what the EDR on that car knows…

    And I have noticed that this is not the TTAC of old. Keep up the good work.

    Full disclosure – GM employee speaking my own opinions.

  • avatar
    F_Porsche

    So how come it’s only American and Japanese brands? I doubt the demographics are that different from the Korean makes, maybe slightly different from the Germans.
    And since I don’t see those brands being excluded by old/unexperienced/careless drivers there HAS to be something wrong with the cars mentioned above.

  • avatar
    Z71_Silvy

    “GM’s low UA rate is undeniable”

    And once again, GM is showing everyone else how it’s done.

    But a Ford on top??? How can that be???

    ——————-

    “Ford…where quality is still a myth”.

    • 0 avatar
      Loser

      Because GM’s quality is so much better?

      Sorry but my piston slapping GMC and my brothers power steering problem plagued Cobalt must disagree. GM’s quality isn’t any better than Fords, both make their fair share of crap.

    • 0 avatar
      ihatetrees

      “GM’s low UA rate is undeniable”

      And once again, GM is showing everyone else how it’s done.

      As Bertel mentioned above, this data is SELF-REPORTED. Perhaps GM owners are less likely to type a report about possible defects? In marketing circles, it’s well known that GM vehicles aren’t web shopped as much as other brands.
      That GM owners would be less likely to use the web to relate possible faults to the NHTSA seems reasonable.

    • 0 avatar
      Z71_Silvy

      Sorry but my piston slapping GMC

      Yeah…all of those engines with 300K, 400K etc on them slapping away is really a problem. Damn GM for making such a reliable engine.
      ————-
      How far can a Ford drive when it shoots a spark plug out of the head???

    • 0 avatar
      Loser

      So you’d be happy with an engine making noise it shouldn’t be, good for you but that’s not my idea of quality or customer care. I deserve and expect better for my money. Only an extreme GM apologist or sycophant could find this acceptable. GM and the American tax payers needs more folks like you that find this kind of crap acceptable.

      “How far can a Ford drive when it shoots a spark plug out of the head???”
      About as far as a GM vehicle with a blown head gasket thanks to Dexcool.

      That said, IMHO Fords 5.4 is a weak and sorry engine for at truck.

    • 0 avatar
      BDB

      Wow, 12:30 am on a Saturday night, and Silvy/P_71CrownVic/Matt/Realist/ has nothing better to do than to troll a blog about Fords.

      Seriously, get psychological help.

    • 0 avatar
      Z71_Silvy

      I don’t worry about a noise that doesn’t hurt anything. Why should GM spend money on something that’s not really an issue?

      “GM and the American tax payers needs more folks like you that find this kind of crap acceptable. ”

      Again…an engine lasting many hundreds of thousands of miles is not what I would consider “crap”. But go on hating GM for a non-issue. That’s rational.

    • 0 avatar
      Loser

      “I don’t worry about a noise that doesn’t hurt anything. Why should GM spend money on something that’s not really an issue?”

      Thanks for proving my point. This is the kind of logic that got Detroit into the mess it’s in right now.

      “Again…an engine lasting many hundreds of thousands of miles is not what I would consider “crap”. But go on hating GM for a non-issue. That’s rational”

      You’re very ignorant if you believe piston slap is a non issue. Pointing out GM’s issues doesn’t make a person a hater, I was only making the point that GM has it’s problems, a fact you seem very uncomfortable with. Just because I own and like GM products doesn’t make me blind to their problems.

      Defending GM while bashing Ford for the same crap GM does….that’s rational?

      Excessive “piston slap” occurs because an automobile manufacturer designs and/or manufactures an engine in which the clearance between the piston and cylinder bore is too great. Essentially, the piston moves sideways and “slaps” or “knocks” hard against the cylinder bore and causes damage to the engine pistons and cylinders, excessive smoke emissions, excessive oil consumption, carbon buildup on piston heads, decreased mileage, and a loud and obnoxious “slapping” or “knocking” noise, all of which diminishes vehicle resale value in the trade.

      GM did in fact admit it had a problem and that its engineering department was working on the fix. The fix was promised to be made to consumer’s engines in the spring or summer of 2002. As the number of slapping engines grew and the cost to repair them grew as well, GM changed its policy.

    • 0 avatar
      Z71_Silvy

      “Thanks for proving my point. This is the kind of logic that got Detroit into the mess it’s in right now. ”

      Yeah…Detroit should go around and turn non-issues and 400K engines into something it’s not…that’s the road to success.

      Ford’s issues leave you stranded on the side of the road, piston slap…at startup (for a few seconds) does not.

      Ford never admitted that the shooting spark plugs were an issue…they never thought that the cam sprockets moving around on the cam shaft of the 196-1999 SHOs was an issue, they never thought the intake manifold failing in the 4.6 V8 was an issue, and they never thought losing braking power completely was an issue until consumer reports exposed a problem on the mediocre Fusion and Milan Hybrid.

    • 0 avatar
      Loser

      Once again you have proven my point.

  • avatar
    Dave Skinner

    “I also saw that the GMC Canyon is not on the list (unless I missed it) but the Chevy Colorado is – should be a closer grouping following your logic on Silverado/ Sierra. ”

    There’s a lot more GM full sized trucks out there than their mid-sized pickup. Bigger sample sizes (almost) always equals better data.

    Only four incidents were reported for the Chevy Colorado, with a 0.012 UA rate per 000. Given the lower sales of the Canyon, it would only take 1 or 2 reports to equal the Colorado’s rate. At the bottom of the chart, we’re deep into statistical “noise”, and I’m not surprised the numbers do not coorelate.

    Perhaps there are three Canyon drivers out there who experienced UA, but did not report into the NHSTA website. That’s all it would take to match or exceed the Chevy’s rate.

  • avatar
    Paul Niedermeyer

    I left out the Canyon by mistake. It had 2 reported incidents, so its UA rate would be .026. With such a small sample size, that’s not significantly different than the Colorado.

  • avatar
    Facebook User

    Sorry, I can’t take this table seriously without real sales data… for certain vehicles it might be accurate but others it is clear that it can’t be anywhere close to accurate. The three Lexuses in the top 5 — the ES330 had 143,000 sales in 2005 and 2006, which were its last model years, rather than 64k like you show (where did you even get that number?). That would bump it all the way down to 13th place. Another quick look at Wikipedia page for the SC430 shows that there were over 20,000 US sales of the car in 2005-2009, over twice what you show, which would make it tenth place on the list. That’s two examples of extremely misreported cars in the top five from sixty seconds of Wikipedia browsing.

    It’s one thing to interpolate data but this ranking table is a farce. I’ve come to expect quite a bit more common sense in TTAC’s analysis articles.

    • 0 avatar
      Paul Niedermeyer

      I specifically explained that this is an initial stab at getting some relative information with the limited info I had at hand (’08 MY sales stats). I extrapolated from that, despite the inherent limitations. I have added an update explanation, and will update the whole spread sheet when I have more info on the other cars. Thanks for pointing this particular example out; interestingly, it drops the ES 330 down, but brings up the ES 350 even higher, above the Lincoln TC.

    • 0 avatar
      Facebook User

      Yes, the only major inconsistencies are with cars that either were not sold for the entire period or cars whose sales have significantly dropped off (the SC430 is in, what, its tenth model year without anything more than a facelift??). Just happens that a few of those are in the top ten. Thanks, Paul.

    • 0 avatar
      Paul Niedermeyer

      I’m actually thinking about dropping out all the cars below a certain minimum number of complaints. Between the randomness of that and the lack of variability in the sales stats, its too unreliable.
      I don’t start out on this late Friday night with the expectation of ending up with infallible stats; it was more of like “what happens if I do this”. I know that’s risky, but I also know I can count on TTAC’s commentators to help me see through this. It’s an interactive process, of trying to find some relative greater degree of insight, and your comment helped me out. Thanks.

    • 0 avatar
      Robert.Walter

      Hi Paul, Great idea! I was going to ask if you would modify the list to drop all vehicles with less than 5 or 6 incidents. But then thought after 4 hours of work I didn’t want to put you thru more… ;O)

      But if you really get motivated, you could analyze them so:
      - “Manhattan Chart” x being model years, y being year reported, z being number of reports in year y for MY x;
      - because SUA is more likely related to mileage, years y could be replaced with mileage in the above construct…
      - it would also be most important to indicate when a vehicle moved from an accl with a mechanical cable to an electrical one.

      If you wanted to do a simpler composite table, you could take the reports by MY divide them by sales, and then add them up for a composite total. I’m not sure if this would reveal a pattern but it would be something easy (time consuming) but easy to do.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnAZ

      “interestingly, it drops the ES 330 down, but brings up the ES 350 even higher, above the Lincoln TC.”

      Yet, and although you have changed the title of this article, you still feel it is appropriate to keep the TC at the top of your chart? Smells to me like a Hockey Stick chart from Michael Mann.

      I would suggest you withdraw the chart until it has some integrity.

    • 0 avatar
      Paul Niedermeyer

      JohnAZ, Not until I can input improved sales info for the rest of the cars. Please stop obsessing about which car is at the top of the list. The margin of error is to great. Obviously, the TC is high in the rate if complaints.

  • avatar
    Potemkin

    In mechanical linkage throttle controls you can get a condition where the throttle cable at the throttle body corrodes and can seize up. When this happens the throttle stays open at what ever level it was when you lifted your foot off the pedal. This may give the impression of UA. This might explain some of the Ford and GM vehicles.

  • avatar
    Jimal

    Someone mentioned (I’m too tired with a 2 week-old daughter to find which post) that there is a difference between number of incidents and number of reports. My question is, how are these incidents reported? By the authorities or by the driver? If the driver reports the incident, could the high number of “old people” cars on this list be because stereotypically speaking old people are retired, have more time on their hands and are likely to be curmudgeonly enough to report such things? My father is in his 70′s and has become all crotchety, just like his dad was at that age; all “you kids get off my lawn!”.

    Am I being ageist?

    • 0 avatar
      ihatetrees

      My question is, how are these incidents reported? By the authorities or by the driver?

      Bertel Schmitt noted above that these ‘Reports’ are done by the user. All it takes is a few mouse clicks and keystrokes. They can be phoned in and I think this is the link:
      https://www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/ivoq/Complaint.cfm

      Typing up that form-link gets you an “NHTSA Report”. When verified, the “NHTSA Report” becomes an “Incident”.

    • 0 avatar
      Robert.Walter

      @Jimal: Yes, you are being unfairly ageist. You should know better than to blame your sleep-deprivation on a 2-week old person!

    • 0 avatar
      Jimal

      And so it is completely reasonable that older people with more time on their hands might be more likely to take the time to go to the NHTSA website and file a report, which is reflected in the cars on this particular spreadsheet?

      @Robert, I worked from home this week as we got acclimated to having a little on in the house. Her new nickname is “The Meeting Ender”, as I had to drop out of a couple conference calls to change a diaper. True story.

    • 0 avatar
      Robert.Walter

      Jimal: i think those that report to NHTSA have many motivations, among them would be that they:
      - experienced an event (and here, occurrance and self-causation would be a deeper level to be considered);
      - and recognized it;
      - and then took action;
      - and reported it (and here, to whom? Dealer, OEM, NHTSA, or some combo of all 3?);
      - and that for all else being equal, that those that wanted to report an event were aware of NHTSA, or had the means, ability, or time to submit a report – for instance, my 78 y/o mom can operate the internet, but is clueless about NHTSA, it is just not on her radar, but amongst her friends are retired automotive (Turbine Car, Ford-MEL-Div., Chrysler Chief, etc.) engineers who would know NHTSA, internet-clueless and/or probably wouldn’t search the 800-nr. either.);
      - and of those who brought their vehicle to the dealer and had it checked-out, and were well-treated, even with NTF, they may have not reported the event afterward believing it to be a 1-time event, or self-induced (I believe most of those from the Greatest Generation are pretty truthful, even if at fault, unlike the livery drivers described elsewhere);

      I think that the majority of reports would be from dissatisfied or consequent types with awareness of both NHTSA and able to operate the internet or find an 800 number; I know, this seems obvious, but on the otherside, it is interesting to consider who it leaves out.

      I think that if OEM’s and the Insurance Industry had the duty to feed data into NHTSA based on complaints or claims, this would be an important source of additional data. If such info was used in conjunction with the FARS database, I think this might also provide interesting information.

      Jimal: I forgot the emoticon ;O) to my above comment regarding your new irrational alarm clock.

  • avatar

    Is there any reason why putting the lever on the Toyota (or other car with a slushbox) into neutral might fail to put the car into neutral? And if so, what alternative does the driver have to stop the car from accelerating?

    • 0 avatar
      ihatetrees

      Standing on the brake worked for Car and Driver…

    • 0 avatar
      Robert.Walter

      Before all the news advice about hopping on the brake firmly with both feet, I bet few people undergoing an SUA event did this (even those with ABS) …

      Under such a scenario, most people are conditioned to tentatively apply the brakes, or possibly cycle (i.e. pump) them a couple of times … And in so doing, the acceleration continues, the friction surfaces heat up and lose efficiency, and the vacuum assist reservoir depletes …

      By the time the driver really gets into the brake the vehicle has more kinetic energy to dissipate with less braking capacity while requiring higher brake pedal efforts….

    • 0 avatar
      JohnAZ

      @David,
      I think that is the most important question that needs to be answered urgently before bothering to investigate UA causes or brake override fail safe methods.
      Each brand/model needs to be investigated to see if theoretically, given some easily feasible electrical, electronic, or mechanical fault, they might not shift the transmission into neutral, even though the selector was properly moved. If it is possible, then I believe it is in violation of existing laws.

  • avatar
    Telegraph Road

    With the Town Car at #1, this ranking certainly underscores the importance of driver’s age in assessing SUA risk. Driver error from mostly elderly drivers, however, is only one factor in SUA incidents. There are at least three other failure modes (floor mat entrapment, sticking accelerator pedals, and faulty ECU’s) contributing to SUA. The question everyone wants to know is whether faulty ECU’s contribute to Toyota’s large number of SUA incidents. Unfortunately this ranking does not help answer that question.

    However, I think it’s good that TTAC is presenting concrete (and original!) stats and spinning them to its editors’ liking. The B&B are happy to give rebuttal on the spin. Much better than the old days when rhetoric and ire ruled.

    su

  • avatar
    th009

    Paul, you can find comprehensive per-model sales data going back to 2000 in the Automotive News data section. You’ll need a subscription but hopefully you guys already have one …

  • avatar
    Robert.Walter

    edmunds via just-auto:

    “Toyota’s rate of complaints was the highest of the six at 4.81 per 100,000 vehicles sold. Ford ranked just behind Toyota with 339 total complaints for a rate of 3.12 complaints per 100,000 vehicles sold. General Motors’ was the lowest at 0.81 complaints per 100,000 vehicles sold.”

    link:
    http://www.just-auto.com/article.aspx?id=103347

  • avatar
    Sandy A

    Instead of looking at total number of SUA complaints per model, or attempting to correlate with the number of vehicles on the road for that model, a simpler thing to do is to compare the total SUA complaints per model with the total complaints (of all types) per model.

    For example:

    Y = Total SUA Complaints for 2005 Camry / Total Complaints for 2005 Camry.

    You would then look at time series as a function of make year to see if there are any significant changes. You can then compare with other makes.

    You should also look at the years before 2005. Start from 1997 or so.

    Ideally you would categorize each brand by type of throttle control (Mannual Throttle Control vs. Electronic Throttle Control) and compare the number of complaints for each per make per year.

    See for example the following 2004 Memo from NHTSA to Toyota:

    http://energycommerce.house.gov/Press_111/20100222/E-mail.from.Scott.Yon.to.Christ.Santucci.June.3.2004.pdf

    It shows an increase of 300% in the total SUA compaints for ETC vs. MTC. (Camry)

  • avatar
    Steven02

    I think this says a few things. Toyota definitely has a problem here, dominating the charts of UA. The second thing it says, is that Ford’s problem looks like the panther platform cars mostly, followed by others.

    Anyone know if all of the panther platform cars have different drive trains?

  • avatar
    Buffs Fan

    Town Car and Grand Marquis sales are understated quite a bit in the table, due to Paul using only 2008 sales. Ford closed Wixom Assembly in the middle of 2007, where the Town Car was built, and then added it to the St. Thomas plant where the Crown Vic and Grand Marquis were built. At that time, Ford also stopped pushing Town Car and Grand Marquis at retail, so sales fell considerably for both products in 2008. By using only 2008 sales data, this has the effect of understating sales by a lot, and therefore, overstating the rate of SUA for Town Car and Grand Marquis. Sales drop from 2005 to 2008 for Town Car was 47K in 2005 to 16K in 2008 — Grand Marquis was a little less, but large as well.

    Crown Vic was, and is, primarily sold to fleets, and sales have been somewhat steady over the 5 years (especially relative to the rest of the industry), so it’s position in Paul’s table is probably more accurate.

  • avatar
    tomf

    I didn’t see this anywhere. Were the sales numbers proportionally adjusted for older sales being on the road longer to have more complaints?


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